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Replacing combustible cigarettes with vaping in one’s 30s may be associated with key markers of healthy and successful aging, according to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Rick Kosterman, Ph.D., from University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues used data from the Seattle Social Development Project to identify 156 individuals who used combustible cigarettes (smoked) at age 30 years and smoked or vaped at age 39 years.

The researchers found that among individuals who were smokers at age 30 years, more than one-third (36 percent) adopted vaping some or all of the time by age 39 years. Higher relative vaping frequency was related to four of nine measures of health and functioning when accounting for prior behaviors at age 30 years, including significantly more exercise, more constructive engagement, better physical health, and higher socioeconomic status at age 39 years.

“Although the study cannot show a causal relationship, we think that because e-cigarettes have less stigma, less odor, and are less physically harmful, they may increase health-promoting opportunities among smokers,” Kosterman said in a statement. “E-cigarette users may be more likely to be in settings that promote physical activity and have more opportunities to interact with nonsmokers.”

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